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Moser Fruit Tree Nursery

Custom Fruit Tree propagators
Heirloom, hardy, and hard-to-get fruit Trees for commercial fruit growers.



How to collect budwood for custom propagation

There are two times during the year when you can collect budwood for a custom order--- dormant season (usually from December thru March) and summer growing wood (depending on your area and how mature the wood is, generally from July thru September).

At Moser Fruit Tree Sales, we strictly use the chip budding method as we have the best results with it.  The selection and quality of budwood is key to the results.  Old, spurry wood more than one year old is fairly useless as it does not tend to have viable vegetative buds that will "push" and grow into a tree.  Vigorous wood grown during the current season is the best.  It is no more than one year old and its has nice, vegetative buds which will easily "push" and grow into a nice vigorous tree.  Apple, pear, cherry, and plum wood is very similar in how it grows.  On peaches, we desire only vegetative wood with few flower buds.


For FastFruitTrees™, we want nice new growth from the past season.  Look at the picture to the left to get a good idea of what desirable wood looks like.  You will usually find it on the ends on the branches or tops of the trees--- often near a pruning cut from the prior season.  It was grown last summer.  If you look at the terminal growth of a limb, it is the newest growth from above the growth ring where the prior years terminal bud was.  Wood to the "south" of this growth ring is not desirable as those buds are very dormant, dead or have grown into fruiting spurs.  Cut dormant wood about 8-12" long depending on how you plan to send it to us.  Wrap with a damp paper towel or damp newspaper and wrap with plastic to keep it from drying out in transit.  Priority mail envelopes or boxes work well.  Since it is dormant, we usually do not have to worry about it freezing or breaking dormancy with a little warmth, since when you harvest it is usually when it is completely and fully into winter dormancy.  When we receive it we immediately refrigerate it at about 32 degrees.


Spurry wood is undesirable and usually cannot be used.  The picture at the left shows some typical spurry wood.  Worse is even older wood which will have more, heavier fruiting spurs.  It is totally useless.  Sometimes on a "spur bound" tree it may not be possible to find much good one-year wood.  In an emergency, we can try to use younger spurry wood, an can possibly locate some dormant buds that may be budded.  On a spur bound tree try to look at the top of the tree, near a newer pruning cut or near where a limb may have broken to find the youngest wood that may be only a year or two old.  Sometimes on the tips there is a short piece of last years growth that might provide some suitable buds.  Most old neglected trees are so spur-bound that they just don't have good dormant wood that we can use.  If your tree is completely "spur bound", the best bet is to make some major pruning cuts to encourage new growth the next season, and plan to harvest summer wood for summer budding. 



For conventional field budding in the summer, we also use chip budding.  Collection of budwood for summer budding is similar, except the desirable wood is new growth that has grown from a dormant bud.  It is all new spring and summer growth, that is mature and has turned woody.  On the tree is usually has leaves coming out from each newly forming bud.  It usually is brownish, but may have some hairy, fuzzy growth.  The best for budwood is approximately 1/4" diameter or pencil size and from the terminal bud of origin to about a couple feet long.  Weak, green very new growth is undesirable.  Prime budwood started growing early in the spring, when the tree broke dormancy, and by August is a couple feet long, healthy, not disease or insect infested, and stiff because the stem is turning woody.  The best buds are "fat", well formed and mature.  We will post a better picture when we can, but the new growth coming up from the bud on these nursery trees is very similar to what we are looking for.. 

On summer budwood, trim the leaves off, leaving about a 1/4" to 1/2" of leaf petiole.  The short leaf petiole gives us a "handle" to hold it by and also protects the bud under neath.  Cut into lengths about 8-12" long, depending on how you plan to send it to us.  Wrap in a damp paper towel or newspaper and wrap in plastic.  Keep refrigerated and send it to us the fastest way possible.  Summer budwood is more fragile and can spoil if in transit for more than a week.  When we receive it we refrigerate it at about 40 degrees and can keep it healthy for a couple weeks if necessary.



Copyright © 2012 Moser's Nursery
Last modified: 01/25/12